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Grateful Dead Live at Fillmore West on 1968-08-21

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Grateful Dead Live at Fillmore West on 1968-08-21

Topics Live concert

Cryptical Envelopement-> Drums-> The Other One-> Cryptical Envelopement, Good Morning Little School Girl, Alligator Dark Star-> Saint Stephen-> Death Don't Have No Mercy-> Turn On Your Love Light, E: Midnight Hour

Collection GratefulDead
Band/Artist Grateful Dead
Venue Fillmore West
Location San Francisco, CA

Source Soundboard
Lineage SBD > MR > C > D > CD > EAC > SHN
Taped by
Transferred by Charlie Teeple and Dave Litfin


- Most of Cryptical Envelopment (trk 1) is cut.
- Alligator (trk 6) may be missing the first few beats.
- Dark Star is probably missing the first 10-20 seconds.
- Splice/tape flip at 3:45 in Death Don't Have No Mercy.
- Its not known how much is missing from the end of Lovelight. Deadlists states
total time as 15:08.
- Electrical hum/clicking noise, varying in intensity, in left channel from
Cryptical Envelopment to beginning of Alligator.
- The last 28 seconds of Feedback is patched from another source with the same
- Shntool and CD Wave were used to correct sector boundary errors and for edits.


Reviewer: doug_the_dude - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 20, 2015
Subject: --
5-star '68 -
Reviewer: ToppusBottomus - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 17, 2015
Subject: Alligator>feedback
One of the most powerful transitions I have ever heard by hear guys is the one leaving the final "alligator"- hold on tite
Reviewer: c-freedom - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 3, 2015
Subject: The Eleven...
Does Wow just about cover it.
Reviewer: LOVELOVEJERRY69 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 31, 2015
WERE ..JAN 1968 TILL DEC 1970......WITH THE TOP PEAK BEING SPRING TOUR ( MARCH 1969 ) AS THE TOP PEAK,,,,as verified by the "LIVE DEAD ( ACID ) ALBUM .......................WITHOUT the ingestion of stellar quality LSD/ HALLUCINOGENIC the audience and musicians... THE MUSIC would never have reached the heights it did....when JERRY WAS dosed on the the best of the best LSD,,,,he was formulating/creating/cosmicly evolving....the BEST dead song hands down,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,DARK STAR ( AKA JERRY'S ACID JOURNEY INTO OUTER SPACE AND INTO the far regions of our brains/cosmos/love you,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,JERRY
Reviewer: Dead In Istanbul - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 29, 2014
Subject: Wonderful show
Most of the previous reviews touched on the highlights. The jam usually played the end of GDTRFB flows nicely out of Alligator. You can pick any song and plug yourself right in.

A word on the downloading of these shows. With the Archivist app for phones and tablets and the site here, is there a reason to download these? Maybe for folks going out of wi-fi range to do field work, downloading them is the only option. But aside from that, theses shows are simple to stream and listen to.
Reviewer: localloser - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 25, 2013
Subject: Darkstar to Eleven
I found the reference to this show in the mystery shows posted at the end. This Dark Star to Eleven blows my mind. So much energy! They are steamrolling and Pigpen's organ is just beautiful. It's swirling in my mind. Though I haven't listened to the rest of the show, the darkstar to eleven gives it a 5 stars.
Reviewer: chris phillips - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 17, 2013
Subject: psychable
Viola Lee Blues, Alligator and Caution are at their best in 1968.
Reviewer: The Only Deadhead in Madrid? - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 19, 2013
Subject: If you're listening in chronological order...
If you're listening to the '68 shows in chronological order you need to go listen to the "mystery reels" before coming here. There are fragments of a few shows from June '68 in there.

More info on the reels here:
Reviewer: yogijohn - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 6, 2012
Subject: eegads this is great
my 1st show was 3 weeks earlier, at Orange County Fairgrounds, Costa Mesa (1st Newport Pop Festival). Only have a few specific memories left, but it spawned a lifetime of joyous Dead listening,to show for it. Oh, the drumming/style/sound on this Fillmore show is like a portal to take me back to those seminal times. Sure wish a set list/tape existed of Aug 4th 1968. Of course, Anthem was my 1st/favorite album, becuase it captured that summer '68 sound so well for me. What a treat to listen here again. Phil is amazing even on my tiny li'l computer speakers. Jerry w/ Les Paul tone, beaming, pigtails flying in the breeze.
Reviewer: rschwz28 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 3, 2011
Subject: Vince who? smokin' oregano? Your review is like saying Kesey was great but Glen Beck's the man. You should be handed a non-alcoholic beer and very politely shown the door. 1990's indeed!
Reviewer: clementinescaboose - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 24, 2010
Subject: fantastic classic
see the Doc and L.R. for a proper review of this monster show...all i will point is the Dark Star is among my favorites of '68, along with 9/2, 10/12, and 10/20. do what you must to find this...
Reviewer: L. Rosley - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 23, 2009
Subject: 1st of a run of excellent shows: 1st killer Dark Star? 1st Eleven with vocals?
This is the start of a great run of shows on 4 consecutive nights: 8/21, 8/22, 8/23, and 8/24 (Two from the vault – which is probably one show, from 8/24). These shows, similar in style and set list are one of the highlights of the year (another being February-March). The difference between these and the February-March shows is that the Dead had stared to shift from the Anthem of the Sun material and sound to that of the Live Dead album. The Anthem material, though still exciting and hot, isn’t as good as that of earlier of the year. The Live Dead material is better than earlier in the year, approaching the peak in 1969.

In this 8/21/68 show, we’re missing the beginning of Cryptical and Dark Star. Jerry’s vocal is volume is low during the reprise of Cryptical, but the organ is well mic’d throughout. It’s a good Cryptical>Other One, but the end fizzles, not transitioning or really ending: it just devolves into tuning. Schoolgirl features tight playing, some nice guitar work, and top-notch vocal, harp, and organ by Pigpen.

Alligator starts in kind of mellow (for 1968) bounce, but heats up after Drums, more like the psychedelic versions typical of 67-68, but with several turns in the road. In it, Jerry plays the Mountain Jam theme (common at the time). A few minutes near the end, Jerry plays the Goodnight theme, much as he would do at the end of Going Down the Road starting a few years later. You almost expect him to go into Not Fade Away (still a few years away), but they turn back into psychedelia and a short bit of feedback.

Now comes the highlight of the show: the entire second set, which is basically the set list of Live Dead. At the time of this review, there’s a two-month gap in 1968 shows at archive. During this two months Dark Start evolved. I’ve listened to all of the Dark Stars her at Archive from the 12/67 3-minute studio version onward, and this is the first serious Dark Star, the start of the golden age of Dark Stars. This golden age ended in some time in 1970. The Dark Star of these August shows is far superior to the 1971 Dark Stars. These late ‘60’s Dark Stars explore interesting places with musical jamming, not space, but with rhythm and structure. Here, Jerry and Phil intertwine in a psychic dance on top of the hypnotic organ and rhythm section.

This is also the earliest Dark Star>St. Stephen>Eleven sequence here at (is it the first?), and the only one of this run of shows. (Earlier in the year, China Cat held the St. Stephen spot.) This sounds a like the Live Dead version of March 1969. Nice vocal harmonies in St. Steven.

This is also the earliest The Eleven here at Archive that includes the vocals. The Eleven jam is electric and driving. It makes an amazingly smooth, slow, imperceptible transition into a powerful Death Don’t Have not Mercy with a great vocal by Jerry. Just fabulous stuff.

Jerry is on fire on Lovelight, and Pigpen does his usual stellar job. The end of Lovelight is cut off, unfortunately. Midnight Hour is average, not as good as the preceding set.

As of this writing, there are three versions of this 8/21 show here at Archive. They seem to all be from the same source. gd1968-08-21.sbd.unknown.1183.shnf_vbr has one problem: It also has the annoying feature of having Schoolgirl twice. The first track includes Schoolgirl. You hear again when you go to track 2.

gd1968-08-21.sbd.cousinit.17689 may sound slightly flatter, slightly less high frequencies. For these reasons, I prefer this version here (cotsman).
Reviewer: darazn1 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 19, 2008
Subject: 20 star rating system?
A 21 in a 20 star rating system is inferior to an 11 in a 10 star rating system, which is inferior to a 5 in a 4 star rating system.

think about it.

5 stars is a 4 star rating system with one star for the exceptional. but all that was forgotten long ago, so it doesn't really matter, anyway.
Reviewer: david_james - - September 19, 2008
Subject: WTB
Sorry, first minute of The Eleven %_%
Reviewer: cosmos_86 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 23, 2008
Subject: nott gdtrfb
they play the jam at the end of gdtrfb normally, but if you pay attention it actually is we bid u goodnight jam
Reviewer: Darrylizer - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 17, 2008
Subject: Another winner from '68
Wow, the best version of Alligator I've heard, my favorite anyway. Mid '68 baby! Actually almost all of '68 is fantastic. But this one is a standout and is a must listen show. Pig and Jerry are on, on, on.
Reviewer: gregweaver - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 30, 2007
no i do believe thats GDTRFLB. AWESOME SHOW.
Reviewer: VLB>Otherone - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 21, 2007
Subject: OX
Sorry Ox, that's a "And We Bid You Goodnight" jam at the end of 'gator. PS, being a huge fan of the '68 shows, I pick this one as one of my top 3.
Reviewer: lemon lime partridge - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 1, 2007
Subject: crepe to call in philip mint...
holy mount helicon. one of the best versions of little schoolgirl i've ever heard. this is one of the most spectacular shows on the archive...i'm in absolute agreement with the cat who wants the 10-star rating system. i wish there were a 10-star rating system so that i could wish for a 20-star rating system so that i could give this show 21 stars...i'd like to lay the starry belt of orion on this show like a golden medallion. i'm a '67-death of pigpen fan mostly...if you're into the early stuff this is one of the best shows you can listen to, and listen to again. and again. miiiiiind blowing.
Reviewer: Evan S. Hunt - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 14, 2006
Subject: Pure Sex
A show I quite haphazardly attended
Reviewer: Ox Fall Down - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 9, 2006
Subject: Alligator>GDTRFB
GDTRFB Jam at the end of Alligator?
Reviewer: dcaplan - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 2, 2006
Subject: this show is dangerous
I must have listened to it at least 15 times this past week while travelling asia. I just can't get enough of it. Alligator is killer, the band is tight throughout... Dark Star is pretty much unreal. I just can't keep myself away from the show! ENJOY
Reviewer: sinceamelia3 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 11, 2006
Subject: Downloading
Sorry brother, take the generosity of the band and the Archive and stick to Auds. There are plenty out there, maybe check out 70-02-02 for a good download. This is to start ofcourse there are many more to get for the road trip. I have not listened to this recording so I don't know what to put for the required field of star input. I will default to 4.
Reviewer: busrider55 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 11, 2006
Subject: Outstanding stuff
It's music like this that affirms my belief in a higher power.

ps to jazzymatt: download OpD2d. You can record each song in real time. It's time consuming but, if you were around in the cassette days, it'll bring back memories. Enjoy
Reviewer: jazzymatt - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 5, 2006
Subject: download a stream to burn
OK.. I'm pretty new at this.. I just listened to this show streaming. I practically wet myself at how good this is!!! OMG... anyway... I"m heading out on a road trip and wondered if anyone can tell me how to get downloaded so I can burn it. I don't know if I'm stepping on someone's toes just asking this... anyway any help is appreciated. So if anyone wants to help out with some suggestions email me at
Reviewer: georgeof420 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 4, 2006
Subject: Seeya in the 90s.
And, now, to skip ahead to some 1990s Dead to remember Vince...
Reviewer: Windowpayne - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 26, 2006
To me, this here is what it's really all about. The whole band is just tearing it up here and everything is clicking. X-Factor is locked in from the first note to the last. The tape is a little grubby in spots but when the playing is this hot, who cares? This is as hot as any Dead music I've ever heard.

With regard to the guy asking about the origin of the tape that circulated for so long labeled 8/22 (and is still up on GDL, I think), yeah, I'm pretty sure that's some sort of composite from the 21st and 22nd. Unless what's here is wrong and it's not....?
Reviewer: capn doubledose - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 18, 2006
Subject: I am reborn
Annointed in the magic life giving properties of what I think is my favorite on this whole site. You too will meet Yaywhew here.
Reviewer: flashbackmagic - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 6, 2006
Subject: ahhh
I have a recording marked 8/22 with the Set list as follows: Dark Star>Stephen>Eleven>Death Don't, Lovelight, Alligator, Caution>Feedback, Goodnight.

My Alligator thru Goodnight is definately what is found here as 8/22, Dark Star through Lovelight is definately from 8/21 according to what I have found here. (and is just sick by the way!!!!)

The recording thru-out my cd sounds to be from the same night. No differences in the sound of the recording. It led me to believe that what I had was the complete set from one night, for the longest time until I saw/heard what is here.

I guess someone took the first half of the second set of 8/21, and spliced it the second part of the second set of 8/22, to make one incredible show?????? Is it at all possible my recording IS just one show? highly doubtful from what I now have come to see

This Dark Star>St. Stephen>Eleven is absolutely phenomenal. This is the first Dark Star I had ever heard...and years and years later, remains the best. The way it carries is amazing and Jerry's Guitar couldn't have spoken more eloquently.
Reviewer: familiarfan - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 31, 2006
Subject: Good
This is one of my Favorite shows, and it is even that more enjoyable being drunk.
Alligator in particular.

And also, after listening to The Eleven, if there is ever another band that has that kind of chemistry; I sure hope I'm part of it.

I keep adding shit the more I listen( I apoligize)
it is fascinating the religion you can get out of a song like the Eleven, that was performed by folks who to the law community would've been breaking the law because of choices towards drugs; or atleast being on them.

I'll break the law every time if I can feel that spirit even if it is 2006.
Reviewer: VA slim - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 3, 2005
Subject: this is why we need a 10 star rating system
because this is the type of show that wins all around , on a sound quality and performance average.
the multi track recordings at these summer 68 shows drive me bonkers, such great separation.
performance is a 5 as well, as others stated, &
like flashback said check out the Mountain jam licks in the alligator reprise ~5min mark.

sorry couldn't go w/out lumping another 5 stars on this one...for the next two nights as well.
YOu really got give these shows a listen, even if you think the setlists from the period are often 'similar', once you sit down and listen , i always get wrapped up in each individual performance and its own unique qualities!!
Reviewer: williscat2000 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 30, 2005
Subject: someone get a fire extingquisher for phil
I feel bad giving five stars to so many of these shows, but they are all so good...Someone should have brought phil lesh to the hosipital...he's was clearly INSANE this night. He is all over the place and playing along in the space next to jerry.
Reviewer: hyperboy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 29, 2005
Subject: what the DR. said!
Hard to analyze this one any further than Dr. Flashback! Good review brother.

This is another stellar performance from 1968. I'm really starting to focus on 1968-1969. I've always favored the 70's (and don't take anything away from the 70s), but 1968-1969 is full of some of the best small band improvisation I've ever heard. Although this show is less jazzy/improvisation than others from this great year, it is a fantastic show...with a lot of Pig.

Sound is great...Jerry is in your face.
Reviewer: dr. flashback - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 21, 2005
Subject: Top 5!
And a Happy Anniversary to this classic show. Well, this whole 4 show run from 8/21-8/24 is just unbeatable for 1968 fans. And trying to choose a favorite is like trying to decide which flavor of Ben and Jerry's you want. So good in fact, that both this show and 8/24 (Two from the Vault) are in my top 5. But take my advice - get the other nights now before GDL catches on.
Although the first two tracks are cut short, perhaps from problems getting the master running at the show, the Other One finally blasts off with a fury. These were the days however, when one or both Crypticals were usually longer and better jammed than the "meat of the sandwich" - The Other One. and that's the case here. But both are hot!
Schoolgirl is down and dirty, as it should be. I believe that's Tom C on organ, no offense to Pig, but it's a little more developed than Pig usually plays, plus he was singing. Listen and see what you think? Jerry proves he can hold his own with the Blues greats. His guitar is SO up in the mix, it sounds like he's plugged right into your speakers! And the final Alligator jam after Drums will just melt your cheese. Jerry soars above the charging rhythm section like a man possessed. And wait - what's that I hear? The Mountain Jam theme? Briefly, but yes. What a version this is!
Okay, time for a break and pack the pipe. Cause here comes Dark Star. Fairly long for 1968 at over 13 minutes. And in my opinion, you'll have to fast forward to the Feb-March 1969 run also at the Fillmore (just released) to find a more perfectly played, true to the bone Dark Star. Garcia's playing just sparkles, every note is bent just right. St. Stephen is played like they mean it, with all the bells and whistles (literally) and Phil driving the train. But strap into your seat, they shift into higher gear with the Eleven - thunder, lightning and fireworks. The band is playing is SO together, they sound like a well-oiled machine. Even the vocals are good. The last few minutes are guaranteed to spin your brain into the cosmos. Wow is all I can say at this point.
Unless it would be to add that the Death Don't is full of passion, soul and fury. Every bit as good as the one on Live Dead a year later. Don't forget that this was the summer that had seen the death of RFK, and the Chicago convention riots. And you can hear that pathos and feeling in every note here.
So sit yourself down, cut the lights. Burn some incense - or burn something else and get ready to trip back to 1968. This show will take you there!
Dr. Flashback :-)
Reviewer: tgvas - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 28, 2005
Subject: Never too Old, the Shows or the Deadheads!
This show is rocking, the sound quality is surprisingly great, my first show was two years after this in 70, so I didn't get alot of Ron, but this reminds me of how much he was the center of the GD back then.
Love it, Love it.........Sooooo good!
Reviewer: jbphburg - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 19, 2005
Subject: What's up with the first two tracks, though?
I love it since it's '68, that aside, I thought I'd done something wrong when I played it back, the first two tracks are only little exerpts from larger pieces, I guess...any other opinions? 4 because of that, but otherwise, well, 68 means 5 starts in general to me.
Reviewer: livedeadhead - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 3, 2005
Subject: freakin sweet
ya, great sound, smooth, what else can be said except that this is first darkstar->ststeven, at least on archive, so ya, freakin sweet, now back to biochem
Reviewer: livedeadhead - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 3, 2005
Subject: freakin sweet
ya, great sound, smooth, what else can be said except that this is first darkstar->ststeven, at least on archive, so ya, freakin sweet, now back to biochem
Reviewer: shallwego - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 4, 2005
Subject: groooovy
Reviewer: will not fade - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 22, 2004
Subject: I am melted
You guys, I love the Grateful Dead. I just can't say it any other way, so why try. Oh, I've tried other bands, for many years, believe me. And I've tried different flavors of toast, too. You know, white, wheat, the regular square shape and the longer rectangular. And I have downloaded probably thousands of hours of this music and it will take me well into my late eighties to listen to it all. But this show melted me. I have listened to LOTS of Grateful Dead. This one is why I have dreams of having been there in No. Cal. But it wasn't to be. What blows me away when I hear an almost perfect recording from this era, and this is one, is how so very damn good they were after only being together a few years. Kinda like the Beatles. That's one of the bands I have tried before these guys. Great Cryptical > Other One sequence to ease your soul... Phil rocks here too. miss you guys
Reviewer: dirty jev-o - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 10, 2004
Subject: clean and mean
the boys were ON POINT for this show {and the next night}////greatest schoolgirl....Many themes explored here....Has there ever been a better guitar tone than found here? outstanding quality too!!!!!!!!!!! I am always amazed when people describe the dead as country....they should be strapped down and made to listen to this boot...recording is a bit hissy
Reviewer: southernflavour - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 27, 2004
Subject: very cool sound
the tone of garcia's guitar is captured beautifully here. you can hear the crunch of the tubes and the slapback of the reverb from his amp. excellent schoolgirl.
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